American Atheists’ Dave Silverman writes:
… After the [Elizabeth] Dole commercial, I’m considering going GODLESS.
Godless also has no ambiguity, and leaves no room for debate as to what I mean or how I think. It also, perhaps, has an even more negative meaning than Atheist — thereby allowing me to do more damage to other people’s thought processes by showing how nice a godless guy can be.
And, while we can debate the definitions of Atheist and Agnostic all night, Godless seems a broader term, encompassing more people who don’t like the A-word, but cannot deny the G-word.
Perhaps we should take our cue from the bigoted former senator. Should we take back Godless?
While accurate — we do live life without a God — this term won’t get any sort of positive message across.
We want to challenge people and get them thinking critically about their beliefs. By advocating the word “godless,” I guarantee it’ll turn off more people from wanting to consider such a life than it will help.
“Godless” already has negative connotations (“Godless Communists”) and we don’t need any more of an uphill battle. It’s hard enough being an “atheist.” Telling someone you’re “Godless” will end the conversation before it even begins. It might make you feel smug, but it’s a poor marketing tool.
Is it worse than “atheism”? Not really. But “atheism” is more common and many people already use it. It’s the subject of books and websites and a word that I consider a good umbrella term for all of us.
Even better might be telling someone that you are a “Humanist” or a “Bright.”
If you do, you will inevitably receive a wonderful follow-up question: “What is that?”
If you call yourself “Godless,” others will just assume they know everything they need to know about you and not even bother with a conversation.
Would you prefer using the “Godless” term?